Transform Your Garden Into A Tropical Paradise

15 Dec, 2022

Dreaming of a trip to the tropics, but can’t quite justify spending thousands on a few days in the sun? We’ve got you covered! Our team has created the perfect planting plan to deliver a lush tropical paradise, right in your back garden – so you can feel like you’re living in Fiji all year round.

Island Vibes

The phrase ‘tropical paradise’ is synonymous with vibrant splashes of colour. That means, the first order of business when planning your home-grown tropical paradise has to be brightly flowering plants. Here are some of our tropical favourites:


Probably the most famous tropical plant variety in the world, hibiscus will give you dozens of large, colourful blooms each year. From vibrant reds to bright yellows and pale pinks, hibiscus are stunning in bloom, especially when planted en masse.

Hibiscus Grow Guide

Bird of Paradise

Named for their crane-like deep purple and orange flowers, bird of paradise is a statement plant that works well as a focal point among other tropical species.



Portulaca are known for their brightly coloured flowers and provide masses of quick-growing summer colour. Great for bedding, edging, hanging baskets, or in pots. Perfect to add a colourful boost to your garden.

Portulaca Grow Guide


Often called a ‘tropical rhododendron’ vireyas will give you multiple bursts of colourful blooms annually, meaning you can enjoy a tropical vibe all year round.

Vireya Grow Guide


A vining plant with red, pink, or white flowers, mandevilla provides a stunning display when trained across fences and up columns or posts. It can also be grown in pots to provide vertical pops of colour throughout your tropical garden.

Mandevilla grow guide

Tropical Impatiens

Brighten a darker part of your tropical garden with the beautiful shade-loving tropical impatiens. Also known as New Guinea impatiens, they have large, vivid bright flowers in a range of colours from red, pink, white, orange and leaves that are either green or burgundy.

Tropical Impatiens grow guide

Fragrant Paradise

To ensure a truly immersive experience in your tropical paradise, engaging all of your senses is key. As you sit outside and enjoy your garden, heavy hits of delightful fragrance will fill the air with the help of these scented tropical beauties.

Star Jasmine

Star jasmine will grow well in full sun, rewarding you with masses of fragrant flowers throughout spring and summer. The versatile Star Jasmine can be grown up walls, pergolas, trailing along the ground and even grown in containers.

Star Jasmine Grow Guide


Gardenia can tolerate light shade, so try growing them in pots on your patio or by your front door. With a rich intoxicating fragrance, gardenias bloom throughout spring and summer, and they can fit into many garden styles.

Gardenia Grow Guide


Popular for their fragrant, white blooms contrasting against glossy, dark green foliage from spring through autumn. Their vining growth habit will bring the scent of the tropics to new heights.

Tropical fruit platter anyone?

One of the best things about holidaying in the tropics has to be all of the incredible fresh fruit on offer – from fragrant passionfruit pulp spooned over your yoghurt at breakfast, to fresh slices of pineapple in your afternoon pina colada… yum!

Here in Auckland, we’re lucky that our sub-tropical climate provides a great environment for many plant species that are typically found in the islands. Some of the best options for planting in summer are:


If you’ve ever holidayed in Rarotonga, you’ll know that passionfruit grows everywhere on the island… And trust us, you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten the pulp of a just-ripe passionfruit, plucked from the vine in your garden. Only available in late spring and summer, if you dream of having passionfruit at arm's reach, now is the best time to plant.

Passionfruit Grow Guide


If you have clay soil in your garden that’s driving you bananas, the answer might actually be… bananas! Bananas are perfectly suited to water-logged clay ground and, if sheltered from harsh wind, are incredibly resilient. Try our Misi Luki variety and you’ll be harvesting dozens of lady
finger bananas each spring – the perfect fresh, tropical snack.

Banana Grow Guide


Tasty, tart and tangy Tamarillos (also known as tree tomato) are delicious and often used to make Jams, Jellies, Chutneys. The flavour of Tamarillo is well suited to either sweet or savoury dishes.

Tamarillo Grow Guide


A fruit that tastes like vanilla custard crossed with a fruit salad? We’re not pulling your leg… Cherimoya is rarely seen at the supermarket because it needs to be eaten soon after it’s harvested but, luckily, it’s easy to grow in Auckland gardens. As well as making a perfect guilt-free after-dinner sweet treat, it’s also amazing in cocktails (try mixing equal parts cherimoya juice, gin and ginger beer, along with a squeeze of lime).

Cherimoya Grow Guide

A Moment in the Shade

There’s something quite special about having a cool spot to escape to on a hot, humid day. Including a selection of palms in your tropical garden will allow you to create a shady oasis, while also achieving depth within your landscaping design.

Palms also offer the advantage of height which can especially be handy if you’re overlooked by neighbours in some areas.

A few of our favourite palms that grow especially well in Auckland's climate are:

NZ Nīkau

The only palm that is native to Aotearoa, nīkau are slow-growing palms that will eventually reach 10 metres high. Their fruit serve as a tasty treat for our native kererū. Planting a nīkau not only creates a tropical oasis for you to enjoy but also extends an invitation to one of our most beautiful native birds.

Bamboo Palm

Chamaedorea costaricana , bamboo palms, are easy to grow and thrive in Auckland conditions. With an abundance of lush, green fronds and bamboo-like stems that form dense clusters, these palms are excellent for screening. Bamboo palms tend to grow to 3.5 metres, and grow well indoors.

Kentia Palm

Despite their slender stems, kentia palms can soar to heights of 15 metres. Ideal for a tropical garden, these palms also grow well indoors, offering a lush tropical vibe to your indoor space.

Tips for designing your own tropical paradise

Creating your beautiful backyard on a budget? Here’s how to bring your design to life and create the perfect tropical display.

Create a mix of lush foliage at different heights

When designing to a tropical theme, imagine you’re designing a jungle. To achieve this effect, you’ll need a variety of lush, leafy plants that grow in and around one another, at differing heights.

Ideally, you’ll have tall canopy plants (think bamboo, palms or ferns), statement focal plants (bird of paradise is a perfect choice here), mid-sized filler plants (like hibiscus, tractor seat, and canna lilies), and then a mix of groundcovers (try bromeliads or mondo grass). Finally, introduce a couple of vines to complete the look – some of our favourites are star jasmine and bougainvillea.

Plant strategically

Your tropical theme might be designed to look like beautiful chaos, but having a structure planned before you start is vital to achieving the desired effect.

An old landscapers’ trick is to plant in odd-numbered groupings (three, five, seven, nine), and you should always start by placing the largest structural plants first before working your way down to the smallest plants.

Place everything before you start planting and have a good look at the design from a variety of angles to ensure that nothing needs tweaking before you get busy with your spade.

Add wow factor with water and light

When you think tropical paradise, chances are that you picture somewhere near water. Bring this element into your design with a beautiful bird bath, waterfall or small pond.

Another fantastic way to add wow factor is with beautiful lights – there are plenty of cost-effective choices, for example, solar-powered festival lights and bamboo torches.

Plan ahead to keep your garden looking amazing

Worried about how you’ll keep your tropical paradise looking lush? One of the most important things to think about is keeping your plants hydrated. To do so, make sure you are generous with your mulching and run a dripping hose through your garden beds regularly (or invest in a timed irrigation system).

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